“The 24 Hours of Le Mans”: a series of stories to celebrate the charm of the car race

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is probably the most famous car race in the world. Even more than F1. Probably because it is the oldest or perhaps because it has the charm of durability and resistance. Drivers are seen as warriors unleashed on an arena of speed, which tests not only their driving skills but their physical and psychological strength. There are several films that have celebrated it. Among all, the one wanted by one of the great protagonists of the race, the actor Steve Mc Queen who in 1971 made Lee Katzin shoot the film "The 24 Hours of Le Mans" , starring him in the role of the driver and then "Le Mans 66 – The Great Challenge ” of 2019, by James Mangold with Matt Demon and Christian Bale.

The Mare Verticale Editions have recently released an interesting volume of stories by various French authors who celebrate the race. The idea is very beautiful and the literary success is of considerable depth. Everything is more or less played on the emotional aspect that binds a character, an event, a situation to the car race. There are some exciting historical references, as in the story "Two Brothers" by Gerard de Cortanze, where the race that took place in 1939 is recalled. The race, as fans know, takes place in pairs; they work shifts of three to four hours each. In this story, two (imaginary) Italian aristocratic brothers go on to win an impossible race while one of the two, Charlie, leaves prematurely to go straight to Germany and join the Swing Kids who were fighting Nazism. Or the beautiful “Breaking the Cinema Barrier” , by Anna Plantagenet, which refers to the documentary on the great American actor “Steve McQueen – The Man and Le Mans” , and to his adventure in Les Mans; first the desire to participate directly in the 1969 race, then that of shooting the film, the disputes with the production, the first director fired in the trunk, the great John Sturges, the arrival of Lee Katzin who knew nothing about cars but who he will in fact carry out what Steve tells him. The volume flows away fluid and intriguing.

Original and entertaining is the story "In disguise" , by Brigitte Kernel, set in 1997 and written as a theatrical script that stages a sort of plot in which characters that really existed, the writer Truman Capote and the king of pop art Andy Warhol, find themselves in Le Mans in disguise because no one in the world knows that they are not really dead but live in hiding in the town of the race where they retired to escape the clamor of success. Or “Outsiders” , by Valérie Tong Cuong, set in 1962 during the race, indeed right on the track. And in which sexual ambiguity is played in an elegant way and in which the vicissitudes of the characters seem to be dragged by the roar of the cars that run non-stop. Special mention for the touching story "Painless" , by Gilles Paris, about the ghost of the son of a driver who returns every year to the stands of the circuit to attend the performance of his father to support him from above until victory. Or the very original "The last hour hasn't happened" , by Olivier Pourriol, in which some artists of the past, at the same time with the pilots, carry out a writing competition challenging each other who performs the most metaphors, with the participation of none other than by Picasso, Mozart and Shakespeare.

A great idea for fans of the genre: 24 stories, one for each hour of the day, and for each hour of the car race that brings together the automotive world and author literature and entertainment. Written with the collaboration of the French weekly magazine VSD and the organization of the 24 Hours of Le Mans itself .

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This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Atlantico Quotidiano at the URL http://www.atlanticoquotidiano.it/recensioni/la-24-ore-di-le-mans-una-serie-di-racconti-per-celebrare-il-fascino-della-gara-automobilistica/ on Sat, 17 Oct 2020 03:53:00 +0000.